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Wehofsits, Anna (2017): Mitgefühl in Kants Ethik. Die Kultivierung emotionaler Dispositionen. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Vol. 65, No. 5: pp. 830-850
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Abstract

According to Kant, building moral character is not limited to developing rational capacities but also includes developing emotional capacities as well as responsibly managing and deliberately cultivating emotional dispositions. Kant assigns central importance specifically to the cultivation of sympathy. This paper first distinguishes three levels on which sympathy is significant in Kant's ethics. Referring to recent philosophical and psychological research, it then aims to reconstruct the process of cultivating sympathy in a way that is persuasive both as an interpretation of Kant and as a systematic account. Contrary to what Kant's brief comments on this process seem to suggest, cultivating sympathy does not consist in a mere stimulation of a natural emotional mechanism - this, I argue, would be inconsistent with central concerns of Kantian ethics. Rather, it consists in a morally motivated, reflexive transformation of a natural disposition that aims to make us responsive to the needs of others.